those chairs

I would love to claim credit for the line of chairs on the pier, which add a touch of colour, texture and chaos to the monochrome environment of concrete and snow. But like most of Furillen’s best bits, I took my inspiration from the real Furillen. Having said this, I don’t know whether these chairs are a permanent feature of the real island or – more likely – were a temporary art installation or photo op.

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In a slight deviation from the arrangement pictured above, I placed my version of the chairs further right, on the pier. To my eye they work better there, providing a focus of their own – and leaving the airstream to bask in its own glory.

The show...

 

chair 01_016

Although they are not easy to capture in pictures – something odd happens with the LOD – the chairs are so popular that they now have their own Flickr group. There are many very creative images of them, either empty or with one or two people sitting.

But one of my abiding memories of the early days at Furillen is when Mich Michabo turned up and invited a group of her friends to sit. The result was deliciously surreal.

♥Su♥♥pe♥♥r♥♥P♥♥eo♥pl♥♥e

 

the pier

The pier at the real Furillen is iconic: narrowly and seemingly endless, with that old crane at the end, unused and unloved.  My virtual version bugged me from the outset, because it should look like this:

508px-Furillen,_Rute,_Gotland_06

This is beyond my current building skills, so I opted for the simplest option: a single prim, laid flat in the water and textured in the same concrete mix as the land.

Then along came KT Syakumi, a very accomplished builder who I ran into a few weeks ago at the sim. She agreed to take a shot at the pier. What she has built is stunning in and of itself, but all the more so when you compare if to the original pier at the real Furillen. This is still work in progress: the platform needs to be built properly, and we haven’t yet decided exactly how this should be done. But KT was at Furillen earlier today, and what she’s planning is really exciting. So keep checking back.

 

pier narrow b

KT Syakumi’s other work can be seen here and here.

 

 

being alone together

The visitor clock ticked over the 10,000 mark yesterday. That’s the number of visits (not visitors) to Furillen since mid October. The sim is often full these days, and around 350 people come by each day. For a sim that started from nothing in October; was built ad hoc with no grand opening; by an avatar (me) with no reputation; and with no shops or – ahem – sex balls in sight, this is pretty good going.

The interesting question is why. I was chewing this over with Cica Ghost, who in my view is (alongside Bryn Oh) the most all-round talented person on the grid. Her latest sim, Roots, is incredible, a world rich in colour, fantasy and imagination that surely captivates anyone who goes there. But the traffic has been quite low. Roots has not been included in the Second Life Destination Guide despite Cica requesting this. Shame on whoever at Linden Labs has neglected to do this. (Update: Roots finally made it into the guide … and Cica had over 4oo visitors in one night!)

But Furillen was getting high traffic even before it was placed in the destination guide. My theory is that the very active Furillen Flickr group helps a lot, generating the network effects that we tend to see on crowded sims. Second Life is a social game, after all.

Furillen is a sim that, for many people, stands for solitude and isolation. And yet a community of sorts has grown up around it, giving the place a life of its own.

We like to be together, even when we want to be alone.

green chair d

 

minimalist

Most visitors to Furillen comment on the wide open spaces. Some see the emptiness as beautiful, while others see it as desolate, dystopian or even depressing. But all agree that this sense of space defines the sim and explains its impact. Look beyond this, however, and there are other sides to Furillen, such as those found in the rooms of the main building. When I first built the sim, these were designed as standard hotel rooms, but this quickly became quite repetitive and predictable. While one or two such rooms remain, the other rooms have been given up to small-scale ‘installations’, usually featuring furniture of one kind or another alongside other objects that are less likely to be found in a hotel.

Everything here is about simplicity and detail: the precise arrangement of objects in a tightly defined space. These are, I think, the perfect counterpoint to the vast empty spaces elsewhere on the sim.

To me at least, these are like two sides of the same – minimalist – coin.

the cutting room 01_010

anti-cute

In terms of its basic structure, Furillen was built in around two weeks.

I planned the sim by mapping out the lines running north to south (the pier) and east to west (the trees; the electricity poles). Every structure, slag heap, tree and road was represented by a single prim block. The sim’s underlying symmetry may be difficult to see now, but it is there.

Besides distinct geometrical form, I was striving for a stark, austere atmosphere that I could see in the real Furillen. This proved more difficult to achieve, because every building I initially placed on the sim was in the ‘shabby chic’ style that is now popular in Second Life. Too cute for Furillen …

Then I found the central building of the sim, made by Soyoy. This is not cute. If anything, it is anti-cute.

soy hotel a

tabula rasa

Someone recently asked me for two words that describe what Furillen in Second Life means to me. Tabula rasa, was my answer. It means blank slate; or in this instance, blank canvas. The wide empty spaces of the sim allow visitors (and photographers) freedom to imagine whatever they choose.

but only god can make a tree

I read an interview with AM Radio – in my view, the best sim builder ever in Second Life – in which he said that people would see in his work things that weren’t even there.

I totally get that.

the furillen photography competition

The Furillen photography group was started on 12 October 2015. Since that time, the group has acquired 1476 images taken by 215 members. The standard is consistently high, and sometimes out of this world. More important, though, is the spirit of generosity that one sees in the comments, and feels among photographers who visit the sim. So we will have a contest, but a contest with a difference because it will (I hope) be infused with the community spirit that has been so characteristic of life at Furillen:

1. The contest will take place monthly, starting today.
2. Each entry to be based on a designated theme for that month.
3. One entry per person, eligibility is membership of this group.
4. Winner to be chosen democratically, through a vote organized by me using flickrmail, one vote per member of the group.
5. Two prizes: a) the winning picture will be displayed on the sim for the next month; and b) the winner gets to choose the next theme.

January’s theme is: solitude

Please tag your pictures with this theme, and the word ‘competition’.

Post them in the main Furillen group on Flickr, and also in the competition stream, which is here:

By all means tag several of your pictures this way during the month, just choose which you’d like to use by the closing date, which is SLT midnight on 31 January 2016.

I am looking forward to seeing what you lovely, talented people come up with.

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